By Ryan Dube
LIMA, Peru--Canada's Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX, ABX.T), the world's largest gold producer by output, said Thursday that a group of about 200 people have set up blockades to its Lagunas Norte mine in northern Peru over demands for jobs and development projects.
A spokesman from Barrick's office in Lima said the mine is continuing to operate as normal. "For the moment, neither production nor other operations have been affected," the spokesman said.
Last year, Barrick temporarily halted operations at its Pierina mine in Peru after one person was killed in a clash between nearby residents and police. The residents had set up blockades to the mine to pressure the company for investments in local water projects.
The spokesman said that residents blocking access to the Lagunas Norte mine want the company to take part in talks on Friday with local government representatives.
Lagunas Norte produced 210,000 ounces of gold in the fourth quarter and is expected to produce 560,000 ounces to 600,000 ounces of gold this year.
The mining sector has been at the center of several violent disputes between rural, Andean communities and police over the past few years, often over environmental issues. Projects being developed by Newmont Mining Corp. (>> Newmont Mining Corp), Southern Copper Corp. (>> Southern Copper Corp) and Candente Copper Corp. (DNT.T) have been targeted.
Peru is a major global producer of base and precious metals.
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